Global Courant 2023-05-22 16:55:00
PESHAWAR – Militants detonated explosives overnight at two empty girls’ schools in northwest Pakistan, destroying nine classrooms but causing no casualties, officials said Monday.
Girls’ education has long been contentious for some regional militants, including the Pakistani Taliban, infamous for shooting then-schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai when she campaigned for education in 2012.
The twin attacks on girls’ schools took place on Sunday evening in the Hassu Khel and Gul Mosaki areas of North Waziristan, both about 32 km from the border with Afghanistan.
“Militants placed improvised explosive devices in the government’s two girls’ secondary schools, which detonated late at night,” said Rehan Gul Khattak, a senior local government official.
He said six classrooms in Hassu Khel and another three in Gul Mosaki were destroyed.
“It was definitely done by militants, but we don’t know yet which group was involved,” Khattak told AFP.
District Police Officer Salim Riaz confirmed the incident and said “a full-scale investigation” had been launched.
North Waziristan has historically been a hive of militancy and was the target of a long-running Pakistani military offensive and US drone strikes during the post-9/11 occupation of Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban returned to power in Kabul in 2021, Pakistan has witnessed a dramatic uptick in militancy, with most attacks targeting border regions.
The Pakistani Taliban – known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – remain one of the most active groups in the area.
It was founded in 2007 by Pakistani militants who split from the Afghan Taliban to focus their fight on Islamabad for supporting the US invasion.
TTP fighters once ruled parts of north-western Pakistan, but were driven out by the military after 2014, the same year Ms. Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaign. AFP